Delicious and captivating, “The White Queen,” Starz’s new series based on Philippa Gregory’s best-selling novel series, premieres on Saturday night.
It’s a unique perspective on the War of the Roses, told from the side of the women closest to those warring for the Throne of England.
At the center of it all (to start with) is beauty Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), who stops an army and bewitches King Edward IV (Max Irons), as she requests that the monarch give her back her late husband’s land so she can provide for her young boys.
“I think what I loved about Elizabeth was sort of the power and what they would do and what they would go through for the safety of their children,” Rebecca told Access Hollywood. “It’s the flip of a coin and you can be killed.”
In the series, kicking off Saturday at 9 PM ET/PT, Elizabeth creates enemies from the moment she meets the King, most especially in the monarch’s right hand man, Lord Warwick (James Frain), who dislikes the brazen woman even more when he finds out about the King’s feelings for her.
Devious and power-hungry, Warwick does everything in his power to stop the romance. And, when he can’t, Warwick finds other allies to keep his own quest for greatness (read: more power) going.
“[Warwick] was married at 6 years old into a power alliance… that’s how it was done. So this idea that Edward could fall in love with someone and that would change the course of history is just barmy to Warwick and he never understands it,” James told Access.
Warwick may not understand it, but viewers will. “The White Queen’s” King Edward and his love – Elizabeth Woodville (Max and Rebecca) — are electric together, or “smoking” as James described it to Access.
“We can establish he’s a good looking man,” Rebecca laughed of her on-screen regal hunk. “But good chemistry — some people you have good chemistry with and thank God, Max and I worked together well.”
Beyond the love of Edward and Elizabeth, the War of the Roses rages in the series. It’s a historical topic that has fascinated the public for centuries, and James put the interest in the conflict down to good old family politics.
“It’s the Hatfields and the McCoys, except they’re all related,” he said. “I mean, it’s a family feud — that’s what makes it so fascinating.
“These guys are all related to each other,” he continued referring to Edward’s brothers, who quickly figure heavily in the drama – George, Duke of Clarence (David Oakes), Richard, Duke of Gloucester (Aneurin Barnard). “Because there’s no male heir of succession, there is competing interest on the throne and then everyone has kind of got a shot at it. That’s interesting stuff. Everyone knows what family feuds are like.”
With “The White Queen” set to be unleashed this weekend to American audiences (it is currently airing its final episodes in Britain on BBC One), Rebecca admitted to feeling a little nervous.
“Philippa has such a fan base when it comes to her books, so I’m sort of terrified thinking, ‘I wonder if it will live up to their expectations.’ At the same time, I guess you just do your best,” she said. “It’s quite new for me, being in such a massive production and I’m just trying not to think about it, really.”
“I think people are going to lap it up. I do,” James said. “And, you can quote me on that.”
Catch “The White Queen” beginning this Saturday, August 10 at 9 PM ET/PT on Starz.
-- Jolie Lash